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Permanent Occupation


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Permanent Occupation
By Rep. Barbara Lee September 29, 2005

If you are inclined to believe the president, we will be in Iraq, in his words "as long as necessary, and not a day longer." Members of the Bush administration, including the president, have been at pains to dispel any notion that they have plans for a permanent military presence in Iraq.

On April 13, 2004, President Bush said, "As a proud and independent people, Iraqis do not support an indefinite occupation and neither does America."

On February 17, 2005, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, testifying before the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate, said, ''We have no intention, at the present time, of putting permanent bases in Iraq.''

The circumstances on the ground, however, tell another story. On March 23, 2004, the Chicago Tribune reported on the construction of 14 "enduring bases" in Iraq. The May 22, 2005, Washington Post described the military's plan to consolidate military personnel in Iraq into four massive "contingency operating bases." According to the Congressional Research Service, Emergency Supplemental funds appropriated for military construction in Iraq for fiscal years 2001–2005 total more than $805 million, with the vast majority, more than $597 million, coming in the 2005 fiscal year.

Anyone familiar with the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) should be skeptical about the administration's claims that it does not have plans for a permanent military presence in Iraq. PNAC, many of whose founders, including Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, went on to serve in the Bush administration, published a document in 2000 titled "Rebuilding America's Defenses." It plainly cites the objective of an increased U.S. military presence in the region as a rationale for invading Iraq: "While the unresolved conflict in Iraq provides the immediate justification [for U.S. military presence], the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

In discussing the 14 "enduring bases" then under construction, Army Brig. Gen. Robert Pollman, chief engineer for base construction in Iraq, raised the question, "Is this a swap for the Saudi bases? I don't know," he told the Chicago Tribune. "When we talk about enduring bases here, we're talking about the present operation, not in terms of America's global strategic base. But this makes sense. It makes a lot of logical sense."

No one disputes that many of the installations under construction are of a physically permanent character. The issue revolves around the policy question of whether Iraq will be under permanent U.S. military occupation.

That is why I introduced H. Con. Res. 197, which would make it "the policy of the United States not to enter into any base agreement with the Government of Iraq that would lead to a permanent United States military presence in Iraq."

This commonsense measure does two very important things. First, it explicitly states that the United States has no plans for a permanent military presence in Iraq and thus help to defuse the insurgency and improve the security situation on the ground.

Larry Diamond, former advisor to Paul Bremer, then head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, is a Hoover fellow and author of Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq. He writes:

We know from a variety of sources, private as well as public, that intense opposition to U.S. plans to establish long-term military bases in Iraq is one of the most passionate motivations behind the insurgency. There are many different strands to the violent resistance that plagues Iraq: Islamist and secular, Sunni and Shiite, Baathist and non-Baathist, Iraqi and foreign. The one thing that unites these disparate elements is Iraqi (or broader pan-Arab) nationalism--resistance to what they see as a long-term project for imperial domination by the United States. Neutralizing this anti-imperial passion--by clearly stating that we do not intend to remain in Iraq indefinitely--is essential to winding down the insurgency.
Second, this bill allows those who have opposed this war from the outset to define one of the most critical components of an exit strategy--namely, that our troops actually exit. The Bush administration's unwillingness to acknowledge their intentions in Iraq, coupled with the growing disapproval of their handling of the war and the increasing public support for withdrawing our troops, offer an immediate opportunity to define this debate.

Members of Congress disagree about when, and under what circumstances, our troops should be brought home, but you are not likely to find any member of Congress who would dare to publicly come out in support of staying in Iraq permanently.

It is a question that supporters of the president should be forced to answer. If they don't support being in Iraq permanently, they should co-sponsor my bill, and put themselves on record. It is that simple.

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Rep. Barbara Lee is a member of the Progressive Caucus and represents California’s District.

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August 30, 2005
>U.S. General Says Iraqis Will Need Longtime Support From Air Force

nytimes.com

ERIC SCHMITT

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 - The Air Force's top general said Monday that American warplanes would have to support Iraq's fledgling security forces well after American ground troops eventually withdraw from the country.

Gen. John P. Jumper, who is to step down this week as the Air Force chief of staff, predicted that American fighter and reconnaissance aircraft would continue flying missions over Iraq for a long time, until Iraqi forces are capable of fighting insurgents on their own.
In an interview earlier this month, General Jumper was even more explicit when asked about the Air Force's future in Iraq. "We will continue with a rotational presence of some type in that area more or less indefinitely," he said. "We have interests in that part of the world and an interest in staying in touch with the militaries over there."

I'm sure the Repuglinazis, their Republicrat allies (Lieberman, Biden et al), and their corporate masters will be disposed to witdraw the American military and "our" (government-paid) mercenaries in 10 years or so, when the Iraqi and Middle East oil resources have been fully depleted.

You're stuck on stupid conspiracy theories. If we only wanted oil, we would just invade Venezuela.

The local Boeing in Mesa, Arizona is crowing about having received a government contract to build 13 attack helicopters between now and the year 2010 at a cost of 27 million dollars.

Doesn't sound like there are any plans to withdraw troops from Iraq anytime soon to me.

LEAKED CONSTITUTION SETS SCENE FOR FOREIGN BASES,

Tom Fox, Electronic Iraq, 27 September 2005

http://electroniciraq.net/news/2166.shtml

The draft constitution for Iraq that has been published in
the Western press has been widely reviewed and commented
upon by many individuals. There have been ongoing
revisions to the constitution. The most recent version was
released internally on Sept. 13th. This version has not
been disseminated to either Western or Iraqi press or to
the Iraqi public. CPT Iraq was sent a copy by a contact in
the government. While much of the document is similar and
most changes are more in terms of replacing a word or two
there are some significant differences.

Perhaps the most dramatic change is the omission of a
section of the "Transitional Provisions."

The published draft reads:

1. "It is forbidden for Iraq to be used as a base or
corridor for foreign troops."

2. "It is forbidden to have foreign military bases in
Iraq."

3. "The National Assembly can, when necessary, and with a
majority of two-thirds of its members allow events stated
in #1 and #2 to take place."

This provision is completely missing from the current
unpublished version.

Perhaps a more subtle change is in the "Fundamental
Principles" section. In the published draft, Article 2
states: "No law can be passed that contradicts the
undisputed rules of Islam." In the unpublished current
version, the article reads, "No law that contradicts the
established provisions of Islam may be established." Now
this may be splitting hairs but Iraqis have said that
"undisputed" would imply Islamic law that is recognized by
both Sunni and Shi'a. The word "established" would imply
that law that exists in one branch but not the other would
be considered the basis of national law. This could create
serious tensions if a Sunni or Shi'a were required to obey
a national law that is outside of their particular faith
tradition.

Financial issues play a major role in the constitution and
there is a significant contradiction in two sections of
the unpublished current version. In the "Powers of the
Regions" the second clause of Article 117 states, "Regions
and governorates shall be allocated an equitable share of
the national revenues [as a clarification oil revenue is
considered national revenue] sufficient to discharge its
responsibilities and duties." But there is an addition to
the unpublished current version in reference to oil and
gas revenues that states, "A quota shall be defined for a
specific time for affected regions that were deprived in
an unfair way by the former régime or later on." In other
words the Kurdish region or a new Shi'a region in the
south could get the lion's share of oil revenues for years
while the Sunni central region gets but a pittance.

This document is not available to the people of Iraq at
this time (Sept. 24th) and yet they will be asked to go to
the polls and vote on it in 23 days. Is this democracy or
yet another chapter in the ongoing saga of sectarian and
religious divisiveness in the country?

Why are you "people" still JAWING ABOUT DOING SOMETHING ABOUT
BUSH, CHENEY, ROVE, RICE & ALL THEIR MINIONS?
WHY DON'T YOU DO WHAT YOU KNOW SHOULD & NEEDS TO BE DONE???
We're tired of this crap that's going on.
When "Junior (Bush)" can send a private army into one of our
cities to "control" our own fellow Americans, I SAY E N O U G H!!!
It's now time to either s--- or get off of the pot.
QUIT TALKING ABOUT IMPEACHING THE JERKS! D O I T!!!
THEN BRING THE TREASON & CRIMINAL CHARGES THEY'RE GUILTY OF
AGAINST THEM & GET THEM ALL SENTENCED BEFORE THE FURTHER RUIN
OF OUR COUNTRY.
Thank you!

Groups like After Downing Street have done an excellent job making the public realize the pitch for the war was based on lies.

Now we have to do what the GOP and most Democrats are afraid to do: Answer Cindy Sheehan's question about the real causes.

The primary goal now should be to make the public aware of the real goals, Iraq's oil and hegemony over the whole oil region.

This would serve a could of crucial purposes:

Make the phony reasons look even more hollow, pathetic, and embarrassing.

Innoculate the public against the arguments that are already brewing for going into Iran.

I have a lot of respect for Congressmen like Barbara Lee, Cynthia McKinney, and John Conyers who dare to tell the truth in the face of the current assault not only on Iraq, but on our reputation in the world and our democracy at home.

Give it up! The Iraq War is not a "conspiracy." It's part of the war Islamic terrorist declared on America on September 11. You're stuck on stupid conspiracy theories. If we only wanted oil, we would just invade Venezuela.

Instead of supporting an anti-American Leftist like Cindy Sheehan, you should be sending letters of thanks and care packages to our fine, brave soldiers. People like you are pathetic, and embarrassing to America!

You should study history. American troops will be in Iraq for a very, very long time. Sixty years after WWII, we still have tens of thousands of troops in Japan and Germany.

And, if we only wanted oil, we would just invade Venezuela. Pleeeeeeeeease!

I've seen reports from Iraq that the permanent bases are going up. It is the oil there that we (Big Oil) want. I suspect too that since water is so scarce there that it too will become an extremely valuable commodity.
So I think it is oil and water that we want to control there in Iraq and surrounding countries. I have no doubt that the USA will invade Venezuela as well, as soon as a convenient excuse can be made up. Let's see, um, Hugo Chavez visited Cuba, thus he will be turning his people into commies. Thus, to prevent the possible Domino Effect, we will have to snuff him out and install a Big Oil loving puppet regime in his stead. I am sure the propaganda machine in Wash DC is coming up with believable stories. Maybe they're already filming "News Releases" for the all too gullible American public.

Congresswoman Lee seems to always be on target! I would add that the USA has had bases in foreign lands for most of our history, Central America, The Phillipines, Texas (look it up), not to mention Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, the list goes on and on. These bases have been used not only to keep the areas they are in under control but also to threaten the surrounding neighborhoods. Ringing the Soviet Union with TAC bases, using the marines to protect United Fruit in Central America, or Guantanamo as a torture center, corporate America has always managed to use American troops to further their expansionist goals. I don't believe that the bases being built in Iraq are only for occupation, as reprehensible as that would be. I am convinced that these forward bases will be there for future corporate adventurism.
Jim

These representative is fantastic, and I have asked my congresswoman, Julia Carson, to stand with Barbara. I am so happy that mine voted against allowing the war in Iraq, and has apologized for voting for the Patriot Act. Continuing democracy is a lot of work, but so is life, and both are WORTHWHILE.

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